Category Archives: Sports

Football Gains Cultural Experiences, New Bonds in Trip to Japan

posterWhile the rest of the Ivy League’s football teams are gathering for spring practice, Princeton football has passed that stage in the calendar. Over the spring recess, the Tigers traveled across the Pacific to take on the Kwansei Gakuin University Fighters in Osaka, Japan. The “Legacy Bowl” was an exhibition game held March 21 in recognition of Kwansei Gakuin University’s 125th anniversary.

The Tigers prepared for their match against the Fighters, described as the Alabama of Japan (due to winning four consecutive national collegiate football titles and a record 27 total collegiate titles), while adjusting to reduced caloric intake due to smaller portion sizes, jet lag, and other obstacles.

“Usually we have a big projector, but we had to crowd around our coach’s laptop in a hotel room to watch game film,” said quarterback Garrett Gosse ’16.

The Tigers ultimately came out on top, scoring five touchdowns and a field goal in a 36-7 victory. Chad Kanoff ’17 paced Princeton with strong play at quarterback, completing 15 of 20 passes for 207 yards and earning game-MVP honors.

The score differential does not, however, truly capture the benefits of playing against the Fighters. “A big part of Japanese culture is discipline and respect, so even though we were winning by a lot in the fourth quarter, they were still trying as hard as they could,” said tight end Dylan White ’16. “From a football perspective, it’s awesome — it gets guys who usually aren’t playing a lot more experience.” Continue reading

Perseverance Pays Off for Perez ’16

Chris Perez ’16 (Beverly Schaefer)

Chris Perez ’16 (Beverly Schaefer)

Wrestler Chris Perez ’16’s path to the NCAA Championships this year was a demonstration of English writer Samuel Johnson’s statement that “great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance.”

A Long Island native, Perez tore his ACL near the end of a strong freshman campaign during the 2011-12 season. Taking the following year off from school to heal, he experienced the sudden death of his father, Hubert, and tore his ACL a second time. When he injured his ACL a third time at the beginning of his sophomore season, Perez’s future prospects on the mat seemed grim.

But despite doctors’ recommendations that he stop wrestling, Perez refused to give in. “After I tore my knee the third time, I said to the coaches, ‘ESPN is going to make a sweet story when I win the NCAAs,’ ” Perez said. With his right leg completely wrapped, he became the starter at 149 pounds this season and compiled a record of 19-11.

At the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships at Lehigh University, he upset nationally ranked opponents Cody Ruggirello of Hofstra and Penn’s Charles Cobb. Perez finished second in the tournament as he and 141-pounder Jordan Laster ’17 made the finals at consecutive weight classes. The two were among five Tiger wrestlers who landed berths at the NCAA Championships March 19-21 in St. Louis, Mo., matching a program record.

At the NCAA tournament, Perez suffered a close loss in his first match against Alex Richardson of Old Dominion, but moved quickly through the consolation bracket. In his second wrestleback match, he gained revenge with a 10-6 decision over nationally ranked Ken Theobold of Rutgers, who had beaten him in February. Perez ultimately fell in the Round of 16 in a close 7-5 decision to Bryant Clagon of Rider, two matches away from All-American status.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned from these experiences is that life is unpredictable,” Perez said. “I never really lost focus on my goals, and just looked at it all as part of my journey.” Looking ahead to next season, that postseason journey could continue closer to home: The 2016 EIWA Championships will be held at Princeton, and the 2016 NCAA Championships will be at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Quick Takes:

TRACK AND FIELD throwers competed at the Monmouth Season Opener on Saturday, where junior Brielle Rowe threw a personal best in the hammer throw of 47.58 meters.

MEN’S TENNIS, currently ranked No. 28 in the nation, took down No. 57 Penn to open Ivy play on Saturday at Jadwin Gym. Senior Zack McCourt and sophomore Tom Colautti led the way in the Tigers’ 6-1 win.

WOMEN’S TENNIS also posted an impressive 6-1 victory over Penn to start the Ivy season. After posting a 7-0 league record last season, the Tigers have won their last eight Ivy matches.

SOFTBALL began its Ivy season with consecutive wins over Brown in a Saturday doubleheader. Senior Alyssa Schmidt’s home run in the top of the first was the only run of the first game, as junior Shanna Christian posted seven shutout innings to maintain the Tigers’ lead. Another low-scoring contest followed, with the second game scoreless until the final inning. With freshman Kylee Pierce on third, sophomore Haley Hineman dropped down a bunt to bring home the game-winning run and give the Tigers their second 1-0 win of the day.



Continue reading

NBA Commissioner Speaks About Activism in Pro Basketball

NBA commissioner Adam Silver told a Princeton audience that when a handful of the league’s stars wore “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts during warm-ups last year, following a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, he appreciated their effort to express their point of view.

“Derrick Rose, I think, was the first player to wear the T-shirt,” Silver said. “Credit to him — he knew exactly what he was doing. He knew how much more effective that would be than making a statement to a reporter after a game.” But Silver cautioned that too many political statements on the court would be “a disservice to the fans, who come to see a basketball game.”

Steve Mills ’81, general manager of the New York Knicks, and Craig Robinson ’83, an ESPN commentator and former college coach, joined Silver for a March 24 discussion of “Political Expression and Activism in Today’s NBA,” moderated by Professor Eddie Glaude *97. The event was sponsored by the Center for African American Studies and the Department of Athletics. Continue reading

Women’s Basketball Falls to Maryland in NCAA Second Round

Blake Dietrick ’15 scored 26 points, but the Tigers couldn’t keep pace with the host Terrapins. (Beverly Schaefer)

Blake Dietrick ’15 scored 26 points, but the Tigers couldn’t keep pace with the host Terrapins. (Beverly Schaefer)

Princeton women’s basketball faced an unenviable challenge in its second-round NCAA Tournament game: a matchup against No. 4 Maryland on its home floor, where the Terrapins have not lost in nearly 14 months.

For the first 20 minutes, the Tigers were up to the task, keeping pace with a stellar offensive performance, particularly in the paint. Maryland led by just four at halftime, 42-38.

But after the break, Princeton’s fortunes turned. In one stretch, the Tigers missed six shots in a row while the Terrapins made all five of their attempts — plus two free-throws — and jumped ahead by 17.

Point guard Blake Dietrick ’15 did her best to will the Tigers back into contention, scoring 17 of her team-high 26 points after her team fell behind by double digits. But Maryland’s hot shooting never cooled. Princeton lost for the first time this season, 85-70. Continue reading

Princeton Women’s Lacrosse Improves to 6-1 as Sailer Wins No. 350

Olivia Hompe ’17 leads Princeton with 19 goals, including five in Saturday’s win over Harvard. (Office of Athletic Communications)

Olivia Hompe ’17 leads Princeton with 19 goals, including five in Saturday’s win over Harvard. (Office of Athletic Communications)

As it nears the midway point in the regular season, Princeton women’s lacrosse continues to look impressive. The Tigers are off to a 6-1 start (2-0 Ivy League) with their lone loss coming at No. 8 Virginia. On Saturday, the team delivered head coach Chris Sailer’s 350th career win with a 17-12 victory over Harvard, Sailer’s alma mater. Sailer, now in her 29th season at Princeton, has coached three national champions and 11 Final Four teams. In the weeks to come, Princeton enters the bulk of its Ivy season and prepares for another NCAA postseason run.

With the exception of No. 1 Maryland April 8, the Tigers have already faced their toughest non-Ivy competition. Wins against No. 9 Loyola and No. 11 Penn State have put Princeton in a strong position going into the rest of the season. Last year, the Tigers didn’t receive the Ivy’s automatic bid to play in the NCAA tournament, but earned an at-large bid due to strength of schedule and victories over ranked opponents.

“Getting that NCAA automatic bid is always a goal, but then again, we want to be a team that’s also able to qualify for the NCAAs as an at-large selection as well,” Sailer said. “To do that, you have to schedule a competitive slate of nonconference games and win more than your fair share.” Continue reading

Princeton Women’s Basketball Wins NCAA Tournament Opener

Annie Tarakchian ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Annie Tarakchian ’16 (Office of Athletic Communications)

Against Wisconsin-Green Bay March 21, the undefeated Princeton women’s basketball team found itself in an unusual position, trailing at halftime for the first time since early November.

But after intermission, the Tigers reasserted themselves inside, led by 14 second-half points by Annie Tarakchian ’16 and 13 from Alex Wheatley ’16, and earned an 80-70 win, the first NCAA Tournament victory in program history.

Princeton’s defense improved in the second half, pushing Green Bay out to the perimeter, where the Phoenix settled for 3-point attempts. Midway through the second half, Princeton opened up a 10-point lead and held the Green Bay at arm’s length for the next eight minutes. The Phoenix cut the lead to four with 2:14 remaining. Wheatley then upped the lead to six with a layup, and the Tigers forced two Green Bay turnovers in the final two minutes. Continue reading